In August of 2014, coinciding with their involvement with MTTS (MINI Takes the States), Lego launched a Classic Mini Cooper set for purchase. Priced at $120 CAD for the 1077 piece set, this was a part of their “Expert Creator” series which is geared towards older kids and young-at-heart adults to give them a bit of a challenge. The moment I set eyes on it I knew this was a MUST have. It is literally my dream car with the British Racing Green paint, white bonnet stripes, and, of course, the driving lights out front. PERFECTION!
Now $120 is serious cash to lay down and add 13% tax on top of that…eep. I was holding out for Birthday/Christmas and laying down some serious hints, but it was not meant to be…yet. I had been searching out a few on Kijiji to buy, but the savvy sales people had prices jacked up for the holidays and were not budging, but really who is dropping serious coin on the set except the most avid MINIACs and Lego fans?
A couple weeks went by and my patience had paid off. Clearly the lack of a holiday sale had some Lego Kijiji sellers concerned at the prospect of holding on to this too long and I was ready to strike! A seller reached out to me at a lower price than initially offered, and I smelled blood in the air. I countered something close and remember TAX FREE! and he took it! SCORE!
I whisked my daughter off to meet the seller at some random Tims in Pickering and this was the result:
It looked good as new, unopened…and the guy had a bunch of Star Wars sets in the back seat too…was almost swayed…
So with our new Project acquired Annalise and I were ready to start building! The first thing she noticed was the age range said 16+ to which she replied “I’m only 5 and I can do this!” almost every single time we built.
The box held two, yes TWO books, and eight, yep EIGHT!!! bags of parts. This was going to be AMAZING!
We started by opening the 2 bags labelled one and got straight to work. I justified the price by deciding this would be a fantastic way to spend quality constructive time with my daughter and I’d get a sweet dream car at the end, win win!
The chassis came first. My daughter did all the assembly while I coached and helped with a few things she struggled with connecting (ie those dang “one dot blocks” are so hard to pop together, even I struggle)
After 2 hours we had a floor and a brilliant shift knob.
NOTE: The times I quote are not all at once, we generally did about 30 minutes a night.
The bottom cushions of the seat. Love the upholstery. Great exercise in patterning for my daughter. Note the spare “donut” in the trunk.
After three and a half hours we had the a good chunk of the back done, including the back bench.
Four hours and we have seat that fold and adjustable headrests. We also have the back glass in and the entire rear seating.
We also built this adorable picnic set that fits perfectly in the trunk (boot)
Moving to the front we started assembling the engine and the Steering wheel and dashboard. The attention to detail was astounding.
At six hours in we had an engine.
Feeling proud of her work we had moved past the interior/mechanics and started to finish the exterior. Driver’s side door came first.
Followed shortly by the passenger door and hood. Everything is completely moveable and is incredibly accurate to the real car.
The completed trim and windshield after nine hours.
And finally the finished product.
We clocked in at nine and a half hours in total, but that’s with a five year old taking tips and chugging along at her own pace. She loved it every single step of the way and I was amazed at her tenacity to keep going every single night. By the end she was a lot better at reading the plans and figuring out where the pieces went. The question is what is next. Lego offers an amazing VW bus that is about 1300 pieces… which is tempting… I’ve also spotted some aftermarket designers that have built trailers for the Mini… but really I think we are ready for the REAL DEAL, if only my wife agreed.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of Minis or Lego this set is absolutely brilliant. It would have taken me a good 4-6 hours and that’s with all the pieces organized and separated. The attention to detail and the nods to so many quintessential parts of the Mini and the culture are to be commended. Lego did a perfect job and it was worth every penny. If you can grab a set you will not be disappointed.
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